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20 February 2009 / April

Economics in five days

Like in the case of my English correspondence course, the “five days” mentioned above measure how long my Economics correspondence course took from start to finish, from the first time I cracked my “textbook” till I hit submit on my last online test.

Unlike in the case of English, for Econ I have more details for your enjoyment.  I only actually did Econ work on three of those five days.  On each day I did one unit out of three total (ergo three tests too– already more than Gov!).  Finishing one unit took approximately an hour.

So really, I should be calling this post “Economics in three hours”.  I leave it as an exercise for the reader to calculate how many hours a student would devote to a semester-long Econ class.

You can imagine how rigorous this course was.  But you needn’t strain your imagination, because I shall now quote from my “textbook” so you can see for yourself:

A person who digs ditches may have few skills.  That person needs to know how to pick up dirt with a shovel and not much else.  A doctor must have many skills.  A doctor needs to know how to tell why people are sick.  A doctor must know how to make people well.  A doctor has many more skills than a ditch digger.  Doctors are paid more than ditch diggers.

I think my IQ dropped a few points just reading that passage.  My other favorite quote was “There are many ways to save.  One way is just to hide the money until it is needed.”  Wow, thanks, I think I’ll try that.  Do you see now why I’m putting “textbook” in quotes?  And I paid money for this thing!  (The one real downside to a correspondence course.)

All this being said, I’m actually a bit bummed out about how lame Econ was.  I opted for the correspondence course route partly because I didn’t wish to tear my schedule asunder and partly because I’ve heard horror stories about the Econ classes at my school.  So I probably wouldn’t have been any less bummed out if I’d sat for the actual class.

But economics is actually something I’m fascinated by.  It seems like such an intriguing mix of mathematics and psychology.  It isn’t a dismal science at all, but something incredibly logical yet counter-intuitive, something incredibly relevant, not just for understanding the news but for interacting with people in general.  (I have Malcolm Gladwell and Scott Adams to thank for such an impression, I believe.)

No doubt Economics Class would have handily defeated my interest in Real Economics, whether I took it at the high school or by correspondence– and the latter suited my second semester senior sensibilities much better.

… Ideally, though, Mr. J (my old APUSH teacher) would teach Econ.  That would solve many problems.

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4 Comments

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  1. Amy / Feb 20 2009 4:16 pm

    Do the writers of this “textbook” ever actually use pronouns?

  2. April / Feb 20 2009 4:52 pm

    Quite possibly not.

  3. Rafael Lizarralde / Feb 20 2009 8:19 pm

    I took econ normally last semester… I thought it was awesome. I don’t think taking the course smothers your interest in it at all—it’s not like history courses where they make you read long and dense passages about stuff that has no relevance to your life; all of economics is intensely relevant, and thus every reading is enjoyable. Additionally, the in-class discussions were really cool, too, although a bit depressing at times (despite having a lot of intelligent people in my class).

  4. April / Feb 20 2009 8:55 pm

    Point taken. But I didn’t even think taking Econ would have been a possibility (even with the schedule changes) until Cornell told me I couldn’t take multivariable, which was not nearly as early as it should have been.

    Also I enjoyed my history classes, for what it’s worth.

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